A trained volunteer for Hope for Justice in Ethiopia who is part of our Community Prevention initiatives in the country has recently identified six separate children in her area who were being exploited and abused.
Just two days ago, Aster – who lives in Hadiya Zone south-west of Addis Ababa and who has full training in safeguarding, child protection and anti-trafficking – was responsible for identifying a vulnerable 10-year-old child she found crying on a nearby main road.
She discovered that the child had been groomed and trafficked into domestic servitude in the community, having grown up a long way away. Aster reported the situation to the authorities, but as there was no emergency shelter and it was late, she made the decision to look after the girl in her own home overnight, then referred her to the local Women and Children’s Bureau for reintegration with her family.
Over the past few months, Aster has similarly identified a further five children who were facing exploitation and abuse, including cases of human trafficking.
A member of the Hope for Justice team praised her vigilance and hard work, and said: “Because of Aster’s training by our staff on child rights, exploitation and safeguarding, she has been able to positively address these protection issues in her community.”
Aster is a leader at a ‘cluster level association’ (CLA), which represents multiple Self-Help Groups in a certain region, each of which elects a representative to attend the CLA.
Hope for Justice Self-Help Groups are made up of fixed group of participants (usually women) who meet weekly and are financially and socially empowered through pooled savings and loans, training in effective parenting, child protection, anti-trafficking, communication and other skills. A variation on this approach is the fixed-term Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) for areas where populations move around a lot, such as urban slums. Hope for Justice CLA members and community facilitators often sit on local Child Rights Councils across Ethiopia, to which we then also provide training and capacity-building.